From underwater bicycle to flying boat

For quite a few Delft Dream Teams, the sporting season revolves around the hunt for new victories and records.

In the past our teams have achieved quite a few top results with their projects centred on sustainability, innovation and technological advances. For example, last year, the Nuon Solar Team won for the sixth time the 3,000 km World Solar Challenge with their solar vehicle Nuna 8. The next edition of this challenge will take place in 2017. In September 2016 an improved version of the Nuna 8 will be tested in the course of the Solar Challenge in South Africa. The DUT Formula Student Racing Team, also active since 2000, has since 2011 specialised in ultralight four-wheel drive racing vehicles. This year they are getting back to work and they hope to be true to their motto ‘Design, build, race & win!’ on the circuits of Silverstone (UK), Hockenheim (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain). In addition to speed, Formula Student can also score on the following components: design, business presentation, acceleration, and sustainability. Last year, they came in first on two occasions with a 163-kilogram cart and a top speed of 127 km/hour.

The Human Power Team, a joint venture between TU Delft and Amsterdam VU students, has some catching up to do with its super fast VeloX recumbent bicycle. Their much advertised last year’s attempt to improve on their own world record (133.78 km/hour) fizzled out due to bad luck and technical problems.

In August, in the Nevada desert, former skater Jan Bos and former professional cyclist Rick Flens will be attempting to win the world speed record (139.4 km/hour) back from the Canadians. Nova Electric Racing, formerly known as NovaBike Racing Team Delft, recently switched from a combustion engine running on bio-ethanol to a fully electric drive. The team aims to demonstrate that it is possible to use renewable energy without compromising performance. To do so, they are taking part in the MotoE race and the Gamma Racing Day in August with the first-ever Dutch electric racing motorbike. The project’s ambassador is former professional skater and speed lover Rintje Ritsma, who will be riding the motorbike as soon as it is ready.

Some races are due to take place between this article’s deadline and its publication date. For example, the Wasub6 will by now have made an appearance at the start in the propeller class of the European International Submarine Races in England. Last year, the underwater bicycle won for the second time the equivalent in Maryland, USA, with a world speed record of 13.7 km/hour. The Design Outline Award was won as well.

In the Shell Eco-Marathon, it is not speed that matters (it may not exceed 40 km/hour), but the maximally effective use of energy. Last year, the Eco-Runner Team Delft won the Rotterdam edition of this race with an extremely economical futuristic light-weight model. The goal for this year is London: a 5,000 km run on 1 litre of fuel. Energy source: hydrogen; driver: maximum 1.60 metres tall and weighing no more than 50 kg.

“A boat that can fly, with the manoeuvrability of a bicycle.” This is a description the newest, electrically driven hydrofoil of the Solar Boat Team. This year the students are hoping to use the electricity generated by solar cells positioned on deck to generate a top speed of 55 km/hour. This might allow them to win the annual Solar Challenge in Amsterdam and Friesland in July for the third consecutive time.

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